Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Frog Scribe's Chronicle


A just-completed pyramidal sculpture.

 It was meant to have a vaguely ancient Egyptian or Mayan feel, but with no particular meaning other than conveying some sort of story or history through the circuitry glyphs. 

In the center front of the piece is a circuit from my “zoo” collection which I’ve always thought looked like a frog sitting at a table or desk.  Since no better title came to mind, the work was named for that circuit. 

The black circle near the top is a device I’ve used a few times over the years with other works.  Of course there are all kinds of possibilities for what could go inside the gold circle, including gold circuitry.  That might be appropriate for some designs, but for this piece I liked the empty blackness surrounded by the gold.


 THE FROG SCRIBE’S CHRONICLE  measures about 31” x 12” x 17”,  and will be a bit taller when I add the base which was intended.

It is meant to be viewed from the front, but I liked finishing the back of the piece with a completely different style of design even if it might not usually be seen.   


 A recently completed chest not yet on the website.   20" x 12" x 6".   It’s called MANDOLIN because the paired circuits on the top of the chest remind me of a stringed instrument.  These circuits were collected in the 1980's.


Monday, February 6, 2012

Mud & Sticks

When I chose circuit boards as an unlikely material, it wasn’t because I had any particular attraction to technical things.  I had collected them because I was amazed at the beauty of their graphic patterns, but I’d also collected rock crystals, random splashes of aluminum from a foundry floor, curious pieces of driftwood and so on.  It was a period between documentary film projects, and I felt the compulsion to be creative.  I had no idea what I would do, nor what material I would use.  If there were interesting things that could be gathered from nature I might well have tried that, but the mud and sticks around here are boring.  There aren’t even any interesting rocks, and I would know because I’ve built some stone walls.  Besides, there were plenty of others creating interesting and often beautiful artworks from such materials, and I didn’t want to be doing what anyone else was doing.

So I started fooling around with the circuit boards that had been sitting for years in my basement, and in a few days I was hooked.  It was immediate that the material would have to be treated with some precision, whatever I would make from it.  Otherwise the sloppiness would divert attention from the graphic qualities of the circuitry, and the whole idea would be pointless.  I have no love of precision except when it’s necessary, but in this case it became central to the concept.  It’s why for instance, you can look at one of the chests and imagine having seen something like that in an art museum.  That does make it harder to do, but that’s the nature of the beast I chose.        


People are always asking how long it takes to make one of my pieces.  (I’m never sure whether it’s because they are dazzled by the complexity of the circuitry, or whether they are trying to figure out how much the work should cost).  It can take a few weeks or a couple of months of solid work depending on the piece, sometimes longer.  I seldom work on a piece in one stretch from concept to completion.  Often works are partially designed or partially finished and left for months or even years until I hit on a solution that will let me continue – when I can find the time.  There are many beautiful circuits that I avoid using for other purposes simply because I have in the back of my mind the exact purpose to which those pieces of circuitry should be put, even if that work has not yet crystallized.  However it works out, I never seem to produce more than a few chests per year, for instance, and some years none at all.